Schmitt Mulhern, LLC

Distracted driving takes many forms

Driving a car is a huge responsibility. It's more than just getting from point A to point B; it's making sure you arrive there safely without harming yourself or anyone sharing the road with you. One way to help ensure a safe arrival is to drive free of distraction.

What is considered distracted driving?

The definition of distracted driving is the act of driving while engaging in other activities. Since this definition is very broad, we've broken it down. Here's a list of distractions to avoid while behind the wheel of a car:

1. Don't text

This goes for emailing and surfing the internet too. As most of you know by now, this is an absolute no-no. Missouri might be one of few states that do not have any laws banning the use of cellphones while driving, but that doesn't mean you should do it. Looking at your phone means you're not looking at the road and no text is worth a life.

2. Use a hands-free option

So many cars these days come equipped with bluetooth technology, so use it. If you do not have bluetooth capabilities in your vehicle, there are many options that can be purchased. You don't have to spend a lot of money to go hands-free, and getting into the winter months this is a great option to have.

3. Eat before you leave or while in park

Eating or drinking while driving can be difficult to avoid, especially drinking (our cars come with cup holders for a reason). So many of us tend to eat in our cars when we're pressed for time but no matter the convenience, it's still distracting. Accidents can happen in a split second, which can be as simple as you looking away just briefly to take a bite of your burger.

4. Smoking

Even the small task of lighting a cigarette is distracting. While smoking, you become cautious about ashes flying around, not dropping your cigarette in the car and putting it out after you're through. Those are all distractions that take away from your main focus of driving. Not to mention that smoking a cigarette requires you to take a hand off the wheel for a certain amount of time.

5. Groom before leaving the house

The mirrors in your car are there so you can keep an eye on your surroundings; they are not there so you can get ready on your way to work. Do not adjust your mirrors for personal grooming. This is a major distraction that can easily be avoided.

6. Using navigation

Map your route before you leave. Alleviate one less distraction by not worrying about plugging in an address or having to look up a location while you're driving. Do a quick Google search before you leave, plug the address in and you're ready to roll.

7. Tending to your kid(s)

Be very cautious about how you handle a child's needs while you're driving. When they're making requests, explain to them why you cannot help them. They need to understand the importance of road safety just as much as the next person. Remember, kids are sponges and they will remember your car behavior, so set a good example and keep your focus on the road.

If there is an emergency with one of your kids, pull the car over immediately. Do not try to help them while you're driving. Pull over and call 911, if necessary. Their life is in your hands and you being distracted puts yours and their lives in danger.

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.